I didn't sleep too clever last night at the Saunier Duval camp. I think the café con leche I had just before the presentation had enough caffeine in it to keep even Gianni Bugno happy. The team and personnel all headed off today (Sunday): Virginie and Pascal back to Switzerland; Denis Flahaut rides the Tour Down Under; whilst Leonardo Piepoli goes to Argentina.
Saturday, and it's official Saunier Duval launch day. The TV cameras are gathering, the cars are being polished and the riders are playing musical clothing with one-another: the full delivery of kit hasn't arrived from Castelli yet. On the big run yesterday there were still plenty of "Prodir" logos, despite the fact that the Swiss pen manufacturers are no longer a sponsor. So, it's not just those British clothing suppliers who get the deliveries wrong.
¡Hola! When Matxin, the DS at Saunier says; "six hours today", that's what he means. In fact it was six-and-a-quarter hours after we left the hotel when we returned to Granada. The day is up Pez here, but once again it showed what's involved in being a pro and also what it means to be a top pro. Saunier Duval.
The Saunier Duval Team Launch 2008 squad changed a little from last season - the team is made up of 26 riders, and one of its distinctive features will be it's youth: there will be no less than nine men under 24 years of age, and thus the team will be the second youngest in the ProTour peloton. The second distinctive feature of the team this season will be improved training: two personal trainers have been hired: Sergio Gelati, who worked with the team in 2007.
It was 2019 when we last spoke to Iain Macleod - he was with Aberdeen Wheelers then but is now with Kelpie Racing - he’d just won the SC 50 mile championships and the man is making the headlines again; a couple of weeks ago he took the Scottish Cycling Olympic Time Trial title and before that recorded the fastest 100 mile time trial ever ridden on Scottish roads.
It was ironic that Chris Anker Sørensen’s life should end doing what he had become known for after his career as a professional cyclist was over – preparing meticulously for his role as a TV race commentator, out riding the parcours of Sunday’s World Individual Time Trial Championship in Flanders.
We liked our jaunt to the Tour of the Campsies last year and feel at home among the rolling countryside and green hills there so we headed west, first of all paying our respects to the Robert Millar mural at the foot of the Crow Road; when you watch Roglič take the Lagos di Covadonga stage in the Vuelta it’s difficult to imagine the wee fella from Glasgow winning that stage – but win it he did.
We had a look around Hawick as the 2021 Tour of Britain race carnival hit town, we caught up with friends then headed out on the course, hiding from the wind on Wanside Rig to see the peloton as it headed towards Gifford...
With victories already this season in various time trial distances ranging from 25 to 100 miles (with a two mile hill climb win too), Iain Macleod (Kelpie Racing) added the Scottish Cycling Olympic Time Trial 2021 title to his growing palmarès.
The Ribble ‘Ultra Aero’ is a beautiful piece of machinery and in the manner of the best British speed machines – Aston Martin, Jaguar, Lotus, Norton – pulls off that trick of looking very quick even when it’s standing still. We caught up with Ribble CEO, Andy Smallwood and ex-pro and DS, Jamie Burrow, Ribble’s head of product development; here’s what they had to say.
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